When we started Meatless Mondays a few years ago it was such a novelty. I was on a health kick and eating meatless seemed like a cool thing. But with time it became the way of life. Meatless Monday has changed my life. I just can't bring myself to eat meat on Mondays any more. And when I do, I feel extremely guilty...as if I am cheating on vegetarian me.
So why Monday? Monday is the beginning of the work week, the day when we settle back into our weekly routine. Unhealthy habits that took place over the weekend can be forgotten and replaced with positive choices. Having a Meatless Monday is a weekly reminder to restart my healthy habits. It's interesting how my commitment to Meatless Monday changed over time. At a beginning it was about trying something new [cool], but it became so much more - it is about me making better choices, about making a difference. As Margaret Mead said a small group of people can make huge difference, and by having at least one meatless day in a week, I know I am making my contribution to the better tomorrow.
So now that I am done with the philosophical part ;) let's talk about today and our meatless meal. The easiest way to try a meatless meal is to have some beans. Tonight, the chef made black bean burgers. They are easy to make and tasty, two of my favorite things in a recipe. I think the word that best describes them is "earthy". They were thick and hearthy, well spiced, just full of flavor.
I have to say I was instrumental in tonight's dinner as we didn't have any bread crumbs or panko, but we needed something to hold the mixture together so I suggested steel cut oats and they were perfect!
You know what's even better, there are plenty of leftovers, for me and Kiki. I think she will love it too.
Side dish - perfectly seasoned and baked Alexia sweet potato fries. Always delicious!
[Black-bean burgers with avocado and sauteed onions]
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small red onion
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp red-wine vinegar
Coarse salt and ground pepper
21/2 cups cooked black beans
1 small red pepper
3/4 cup steel cut oats
1 large egg
In a medium nonstick skillet, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Add one small red onion, thinly sliced and cook about one minute. Add 1 teaspoon sugar and cook until dissolved. Add 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar and season with coarse salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and wipe the skillet.
In a large bowl, mash 2 1/2 cups of your reserved bean mixture. Stir in steel cut oats, egg and the remaining 1 1/2 cups beans (un-mashed). Season with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and form mixture into four patties. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in your skillet over medium-high. Cook two patties until crisp on the outside and heated through – about 7 minutes, flipping once. Repeat with more oil and remaining patties.
The original recipe calls for mayonaise, but we only used ketchup on our "thin buns", yup we didn't have those either. The chef topped his with a little cheese, avocado and sauteed onion and I omitted onions and cheese, and used avocado and spinach. All I can say is, thank God we have leftovers for tomorrow.